Rabu, 31 Agustus 2011

Corn Chowder

Like most of Cooks Illustrated recipes this soup is a little bit more time consuming than other recipes, but the result is so incredibly delicious that you shouldn't hesitate a minute to invest the extra time. You will be rewarded with a sweet and aromatic soup, not a flour and cream heavy kind of soup, but light and full of sweet corn flavor. You will get the best result if the corn for this soup is very fresh and juicy.


From Cook's Illustrated.

Starting our Lighter Corn Chowder recipe with sautéed bacon lent our base a sweet smokiness. Dialing back on the dairy allowed the fresh corn flavor to come through. To make up for the body that our Lighter Corn Chowder lacked after losing most of the dairy, we pureed a portion of the chowder in a blender. Highlighting the corn was the ultimate goal of our Lighter Corn Chowder recipe. To do this, we made a homemade corn broth using the juice from the cobs after stripping them of their kernels. (less)

Be careful to remove only the part of the corn kernel sticking out of the cob; cutting deeper will pull off fibrous material. Yukon gold potatoes can be substituted for the red potatoes, minced chives for the basil. Depending on the sweetness of your corn, the finished chowder may need to be seasoned with sugar.

8ears corn , husks and silk removed
3tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion , chopped fine
4slices bacon , halved lengthwise then cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2teaspoons minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1/4cup all-purpose flour
5cups water
3/4pound red potatoes , cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1cup half-and-half
3tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Using chef’s knife or corn stripper, cut kernels from corn; transfer to bowl and set aside (you should have 5 to 6 cups kernels). Holding cobs over second bowl, use back of butter knife to firmly scrape any remaining pulp on cobs into bowl (you should have 2 to 2 1/2 cups pulp). Transfer pulp to center of clean kitchen towel set in medium bowl. Wrap towel tightly around pulp and squeeze tightly until dry. Discard pulp in towel and set corn juice aside (you should have about 2/3 cup juice).

2. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion, bacon, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and edges are beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add water and bring to boil. Add corn kernels and potatoes. Return to simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes have softened, 15 to 18 minutes.

3. Process 2 cups chowder in blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Return puree to chowder; add half-and-half and return to simmer. Remove pot from heat and stir in reserved corn juice. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and up to 1 tablespoon sugar. Serve, sprinkling with basil.

Kamis, 25 Agustus 2011

Tomato-Strawberry Salad

Since tomatoes are at their peak right now biting into a ripe, juicy one doesn't require much convincing. Nevertheless, pairing it with strawberries seems a little bit unusual.
This salad is a more sophisticated take on the classic caprese. Ripe strawberries balance the tomato and creamy mozarella. The dish is finished with crushed red peppercorns and basil. This salad is a knockout on the platter, however this dish depends entirely on the quality of the ingredients.

Serves 4
1/2 lb of fresh mozzarella
16 small sweet strawberries, hulled
16 grape tomatoes, halved
sea salt to taste, freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 fresh basil leaves, shredded
1. Drain the mozzarella and cut into 8 round slices.
2. Cut the strawberries and tomatoes in halves and place them in a bowl.
3. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
4. Add extra virgin olive oil.
5. Mix the salad gently.
6. Serve the salad with freshly cracked pepper and drizzle the olive oil on top of the mozzarella cheese.
7. Garnish with fresh basil.
8. Enjoy with a French baguette.

Kamis, 18 Agustus 2011

Jamie Oliver's sexy Fig Salad

One of the first recipes I have ever made from Jamie Oliver is this salad. Ever since then, I make it when I can get a hold of fresh and juicy figs. It's a perfect summer dish, filling, yet light and so pretty. 

Fig Salad
(Jamie Oliver)

I love this salad. Apart from being a great combination, it always seems unbelievably effortless, which is the kind of recipe I like. The constant success of this is due to the common-sense marriage of salty Parma ham, milky buffalo mozzarella and sweet figs, which obviously need to be of a good quality. The best figs to use are Italian and the best time to buy them is June to August when they are in season. Greek figs are a good second-best and are in season from September to November. The best figs always seem to be those that are about to split their skins. Use green or black figs – it doesn’t really matter.

Yield : Serves 4

4 figs
4 slices Parma ham or prosciutto
4 slices buffalo mozzarella
A handful green or purple basil, leaves picked

Honey and lemon juice dressing:
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon good honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

One thing I do is to criss-cross the figs but not quite to the bottom – 1 fig per person is always a good start. Then, using your thumbs and forefingers, squeeze the base of the fig to expose the inside. At this point you’ll think, ‘Oooh, that looks nice, I think I’m quite clever...’ or at least I do. More importantly, it allows your dressing to get right into the middle of the fig. All these little things really help to make a salad special. Simply place the figs in a dish, weave around 1 slice of Parma ham or prosciutto per fig, throw in some slices of buffalo mozzarella, rip over some green or purple basil and drizzle everything with the honey and lemon juice dressing. As far as salads go, it’s pretty damn sexy.

For the honey and lemon juice dressing:

Mix everything together in a bowl and season to taste.

PS: It’s a good idea to have some spare bread on the table to mop up the juices – always a treat.

Senin, 15 Agustus 2011

Blueberry-Mango Soup

Thick fruit soups are a typical Swedish treat and can be served hot or cold, depending on the season. This recipe was created by famed Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson, Executive Chef and co-owner of Aquavit in New York City. His cardamon-spiced version  can also be used as a sauce over ice cream or fresh fruit. 

Blueberry-Mango Soup
(Marcus Samuelsson)


6 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (or less)
3/4 cup mango purée
1 cup Muscatel, ice wine or honey wine

In a saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, and cardamom. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a boil. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves, about 7 minutes. Slightly cool blueberry mixture and transfer to a blender container. Purée.
In a bowl, combine blueberry purée with mango purée and wine. Strain mixture through a fine sieve. Cool well.

To serve: Ladle soup into shallow soup bowls or dessert dishes. Garnish with fresh blueberries, thin melon and/or mango slices, and lemon zest curls, if desired.

Jumat, 12 Agustus 2011

Watermelon and Tomato Gazpacho

Are you looking for a nice refreshment on a hot summer day that is even simpler than a gazpacho? This soup is a mix between a smoothie and soup. It is simply prepared in a blender and suprises with a flavorful mix of watermelon and tomato. Feel free to add tiny Olive Oil Croutons, slivered basil, mint, or
edible flowers as a garnish.

Watermelon and Tomato Soup
(adapted from The New Spanish Table from Anya from Bremzen)

4 cups cubed seedless watermelon, about 1 1/4 pounds
1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
1/4 cup fragrant extra-vergin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup chopped celery (2 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Finely slivered basil, for garnish

Working in two batches, purée all of the ingredients except the garnish in a blender for two minutes or longer until frothy and smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, making sure you have used enough salt and lemon juice for a vivid flavor. Transfer to a bowl, and chill for several hours. Taste and adjust seasonings. Ladle the soup into pretty glasses, drizzle olive oil on top, and serve sprinkled with basil.

Yield: Four to six regular servings, or 8 to 12 aperitifs.

Advance preparation: You can serve this soup the day after you make it. Leftovers are good for two or three days.

Senin, 08 Agustus 2011

Spanish Tapas - Tomato Bread and Chocolate Bread


I have to tell you about this amazing snack that you eat in Catalunya all the time. A Catalan meal is unimaginable without a slice of bread rubbed with a tomato half and drizzled with good fruity olive oil. It is served in Spain as a breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is called pan tostado con tomate or pa amb tomaquet and has almost achieved the status of a Catalan national dish.
Sometimes it is topped with anchovies, cheese or ham, so feel free to add this to the bread if you like.

Catalan Tomato Bread
(The New Spanish Table)

1 piece (9 to 10 inches long and at least 2 inches in diameter
dense, chewy baguette, cut in half lengthwise
Fragrant extra-virgin olive oil
2 fat garlic cloves (optional), cut in half
1 large ripe but firm tomato, cut in half crosswise
Coarse salt (kosher or sea)

1. Light the grill and preheat it to medium or preheat the broiler.

2. Brush the cut side of each baguette half very lighly with olive oil and rub it with garlic, if using.
Grill or broil the bread until golden, about 45 seconds, watching out that it doesn't burn around the edges.

3. When the bread is just cool enough to handle, rub the cut side of each half with the cut side of a tomato half, pressing down on the tomato to extract some of the pulp. Drizzle more olive oil over the bread and sprinkle it with salt. Cut each baguette in half on the diagonal into roughly 1 1/4 inch pieces and serve at once.
serves 4


Catalan people love to mix sweet and salty flavors. I do too, and when I first tasted this incredible bread I was in chocolate heaven. Combining bread, melted dark chocolate, salt, and olive oil is a Catalan tradition and is fun and unusual.
Try it and see for yourself why the combination of these flavors is so irresistible. Serve it for breakfast, tea, or as a dessert

Chocolate Tostada with Olive Oil and Flaky Salt
Tostada de chocolate con aceite de olivia
(The New Spanish Table)
serves 4 - 6

5 to 6 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate (at least 70 % cacao), grated
1 piece (9 to 10 inces long and least 2 inches in diameter) dense, chewy baguette, cut in half lenghtwise
fragrant extra-virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

1. Preheat the broiler.

2. Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler and melt it over simmering water. (or do it in the microwave.

3. Brush the cut side of each baguette half very lightly with olive oil. Broil the bread until golden, watching out that it doesn't burn around the edges. (Alternatively, you can toast the bread.)

4. Spread the cut side of each baguette half with the melted chocolate, drizzle a little olive oil over the chocolate, and judiciously sprinkle it with salt. Cut each baguette half on the diagonal into roughly 1 1/4 inch pieces and serve at once.